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Full text of "NightRider"

366

day a fellow come to me, I can't say for sure what day it was
but it was long 'fore setting-out time last spring. He told me
his name, but it's done slipped my mind, it looks like. But he
was a sorter middle-size man, you might say"—he stopped,
broodingly, for a moment—" and sandy-haired. And he said
to me, ' Mr. Turpin, you don't look like no man would let his-
self be knocked down and spit on.' I been a peace-abiding
man, but I said, ' Well, ain't no man wiped his foot on me,'
And he said, ' Now, over in Hunter County-----' "

Wilkins shoved his chair back with a sudden scraping on
the dry floor. " I object 1 This is hearsay, pure and simple.
This middle-size man "—and he pronounced the words with
a hint of mimicry of Al Turpin's voice—" this sandy-haired
man whose name the witness can't remember------"

The judge struck the desk with his gavel.

" Objection sustained," he ruled. " But the attorney for the
defence will observe the dignity of this court."

"Did you or did you not, Mr. Turpin," the prosecutor
demanded, "become a member of any secret society?" He
turned away from the witness and looked, with a sudden glint
of cunning and satisfaction, at the packed roomful of people,
and then at Wilkins.

Al Turpin did not answer. He seemed to be lost, fumb-
lingly, within himself.

Wilkins was looking at his watch.

"Answer yes or no I"

Al Turpin managed to fix his glance, painful and appeal-
ing, upon the face of the prosecutor. " Yes," he said.

" And was not the purpose of this society to destroy plant
beds and barns and to force membership in the Association
of Growers of Dark Fired Tobacco?"

"I object!" Wilkins almost shouted. "He is leading the
witness."

" Objection overruled."

The prosecutor leaned toward Al Turpin: " Answer yes or
no!"

" Yes," Al Turpin replied.